With fantasy football championships on the line, can Marquise Brown be an option to trust in Week 16? Let’s take a look at Brown’s season so far, the situation in Baltimore, and his matchup for Week 16.
Update, Sunday, December 27: Marquise Brown is active in Week 16
Marquise Brown has failed to build on his rookie season
If the fantasy football season ended today, Marquise Brown would have achieved an interesting feat. In standard formats, Brown has scored exactly the same number of fantasy points (100.4) in both 2019 and 2020.
In PPR formats, Brown has had a slightly better season in 2020, with 149.4 fantasy points, as opposed to 146.4. On a per-game basis, he has scored 0.2 points more per game.
What has prevented Marquise Brown from developing as a fantasy weapon in 2020?
It has been a frustrating year if you drafted Marquise Brown in 2020. Taken off the board as the 30th WR in PPR formats, the hope was we would see him develop. That has not been the case, and Brown enters Week 16 as the WR36 in both PPR and standard formats.
On a per-game basis, Brown has not delivered for fantasy managers. His 10.7 PPG means he is tied as the 51st ranked receiver with Russell Gage in PPR formats.
Are the struggles a matter of volume, production, or something else?
Frustratingly, Brown has actually had more opportunities in 2020. Through 14 games, Brown has been targeted 88 times, an increase of 17 compared to 14 games last season. However, he has only pulled in three more receptions, with his catch percentage dropping from 65% to 56%.
Some of that has been an increase in drops from two to six, but Brown has seen some targets sail out of his reach this season. Another aspect has been a reduction in touchdowns.
Brown had seven touchdowns in 2019, but that has dropped to seven. That has negated a rise in receiving yards from 584 to 703. Brown has actually been more efficient on a yards-per-reception basis (14.3 vs. 12.7 yards per reception), but two touchdowns account for nearly 10% of his output in 2019. Losing those TDs is hard to overcome, and it is hard to pinpoint blame.
Marquise Brown has seen his efficiency and consistency in fantasy drop from 2019
While he has been more productive in terms of yards per reception, in terms of fantasy points, Brown has struggled. In his rookie season, Brown had a Fantasy Points Differential of 21%, good for 18th at the position. However, in 2020, that has dropped to -4%, which ranks 89th at the position.
Some of that efficiency loss has been due to losing two touchdowns, but it is compounded by returning the same fantasy points despite a 22% increase in targets.
The other issue for fantasy managers has been Brown’s consistency. The second-year receiver ranked 63rd in Pro Football Network’s Consistency Score in 2019 at 3.23. That number has further dropped to 2.69 in 2020.
Brown’s production in cohorts
Brown has seven weeks with double-digit fantasy points, four weeks between five and 10 fantasy points, and three weeks with five or fewer. It has all added up to make Brown a hard player to trust this season.
However, in the past four weeks, he has scored double-digit fantasy points each week. During that stretch, Brown has averaged 15.6 fantasy points per week, which would place him in the RB2 region over the course of a full season.
What competition does Brown have for targets in Baltimore?
In 2020, Marquise Brown has led the Ravens in targets with 88. Just behind him is Mark Andrews at 71, but the next most targeted receiver is Willie Snead at 46. Other receivers on the Ravens roster include Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay, Dez Bryant, and James Proche.
Brown has struggled for targets in the red zone
The last four weeks have been good for Brown, partly because he has found the end zone three times.
In Week 12, he pulled in four receptions for 85 yards a touchdown. He backed that up with 39 yards and a touchdown in Week 13, before a further 50 yards and a touchdown in Week 14. He did not find the end zone against the Jaguars but pulled in six receptions for 98 yards.
Part of the struggle for Brown has been a lack of red zone targets. He ranks just third on the team with seven red zone targets, three of which have resulted in touchdowns. Three of those seven red zone targets have come in the last three weeks. Hopefully, that trend continues into Week 16, and we see Brown in the end zone for a fourth time in five weeks.
Should you start or sit Marquise Brown in your fantasy playoffs in Week 16?
Brown has put much of his consistency issues behind him in the past few weeks. However, somewhat concerningly, at his best, Brown is only a WR2 in PPR formats. Therefore, Marquise Brown has become a matchup-dependent fantasy football option heading into Week 16. Additionally, Brown has been struggling with a knee injury this week. However, the second-year receiver is expected to be active.
The Giants are a matchup that could provide a safe floor for Marquise Brown
The Giants are by no means an easy matchup for receivers, but there is potential for Brown to make a splash. They rank 12th-best in fantasy points allowed to the position. However, they are tied for 11th in terms of receptions per game allowed to the position at 13.4. If Brown can see half of those receptions this week, then he will have a nice floor for PPR formats.
The concern is that the Giants allow just 163.4 receiving yards to the running back position this season. They have also allowed just 11 touchdowns to opposing receivers this season, tied for the fifth-fewest in the league.
Analyzing Brown’s matchup using Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score
In terms of Pro Football Network’s Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score, the Ravens rank 17th in PPR and 20th in standard formats. They are a tough matchup for opposing receivers and one that should be approached with caution.
Brown’s issue is that with less than one TD per week allowed to the WR position this season, there is limited upside for Brown. He will have to rely on accumulating fantasy points through receptions, something he has struggled to do this season.
In Week 16 of the fantasy season, Marquise Brown comes with plenty of risk. He has demonstrated he is not a safe floor-type player, and his upside is capped at around 15-20 fantasy points.
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